ABOUT DUNBAR MAGNET MIDDLE SCHOOL
Built in 1929, Dunbar Magnet Middle School (formerly Paul Laurence Dunbar High School) was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. With ongoing support from the National Dunbar Alumni Association, the school and its current students continue to strive towards the goals and aspirations of their alumni with an emphasis on high achievement, global awareness, and social responsibility.
Gifted and Talented Dunbar Magnet Middle School is Little Rock School District’s only learning and research center specifically designed for high-ability learners. Dunbar’s Gifted and Talented (GT) program encompasses breadth and depth in core subjects while stressing creative thinking, risk-taking, curiosity, imagination, and interpersonal relations.
The International Studies Program offers students numerous foreign language options (German, Spanish, and French), and additional International Studies electives including World Craft and Global Studies. Dunbar actively participates in World Fest, achieving numerous awards including first prize for school in 2005, 2008, 2009, and three first place ribbons in 2010. Dunbar Spanish language learners consistently attain national recognition for excellent performance on the National Spanish Examinations, with recent success in 2012-2013 of 10 gold, 5 silver and 2 bronze medals.
Paul Lawrence Dunbar
Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African-American poet to garner national critical acclaim. Born in Dayton, Ohio,on June 27, 1872,Dunbar penned a large body of dialect poems, standard English poems, essays, novels and short stories before he died at the age of 33 .Dunbar was inspired by his mother, and he began reciting and writing poetry as early as age 6.Dunbar was the only African-American in his class at Dayton Central HighHe was a member of the debating society, editor of the school paper and president of the school's literary society. He also wrote for Dayton community newspapers. He worked as an elevator operator in Dayton's Callahan Building until he established himself locally and nationally as a writer. He published an African-American newsletter in Dayton, the Dayton Tattler, with help from the Wright brothers.His first public reading was on his birthday in 1892With literary figures beginning to take notice, Dunbar decided to publish a book of poems. Oak and Ivy, his first collection, was published in 1892.In 1893, he was invited to recite at the World's Fair, where he met Frederick Douglass, the renowned abolitionist who rose from slavery to political and literary prominence in America. Douglass called Dunbar "the most promising young colored man in America."A New York publishing firm, Dodd Mead and Co., combined Dunbar's first two books and published them as Lyrics of a Lowly Life. The book included an introduction written by Howells. In 1897, Dunbar traveled to England to recite his works on the London literary circuit. His national fame had spilled across the Atlantic. After returning from England, Dunbar married Alice Ruth Moore. unbar took a job at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He found the work tiresome, however, and it is believed the library's dust contributed to his worsening case of tuberculosis. He worked there for only a year before quitting to write and recite full time. In 1902, Dunbar and his wife separated. Depression stemming from the end of his marriage and declining health drove him to a dependence on alcohol, which further damaged his health. He continued to write, however. He ultimately produced 12 books of poetry, four books of short stories, a play and five novels. His work appeared in Harper's Weekly, the Sunday Evening Post, the Denver Post, Current Literature and a number of other magazines and journals. He traveled to Colorado and visited his half-brother in Chicago before returning to his mother in Dayton in 1904. He died there on Feb. 9, 1906.